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Mortality among male and female smokers in Sweden: a 33 year follow up


STUDY OBJECTIVE It is still unclear if men and women are equally susceptible to the hazards of tobacco smoking. The objective of this study was to examine smoking related mortality among men and women.

DESIGN In 1963 a questionnaire concerning tobacco smoking habits was sent out to a random sample from the 1960 Swedish census population. Date and cause of death have been collected for the deceased in the cohort through 1996.


PARTICIPANTS The survey included a total of 27 841 men and 28 089 women, aged 18–69 years. The response rate was 93.1% among the men and 95.4% among the women.

MAIN RESULTS After adjustment for age and place of residence positive associations were found between cigarette smoking and mortality from ischaemic heart disease, aortic aneurysm, bronchitis and emphysema, cancer of the lung, upper aerodigestive sites, bladder, pancreas in both men and women, but not from cerebrovascular disease. When the effect of amount of the cigarette consumption was considered, female smokers displayed, for example, slightly higher relative death rates from ischaemic heart disease. However, no statistically significant gender differential in relative mortality rates was observed for any of the studied diseases.

CONCLUSIONS Women and men in this Swedish cohort seem equally susceptible to the hazards of smoking, when the gender differential in smoking characteristics is accounted for. Although the cohort under study is large, there were few female smokers in the high consuming categories and the relative risk estimates are therefore accompanied by wide confidence intervals in these categories.

  • smoking
  • cause specific mortality

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  • Funding: this work was funded by a grant from the Swedish Council for Social Research.

  • Conflicts of interest: none.